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Letter from the Chief Economist

Ludger Schuknecht, chief economist at the German Finance Ministry, shares his views on the latest economic and fiscal policy topics.

Eu­rope must re­duce for­bear­ance risks

The chief economist’s latest newsletter states that regulators have dealt effectively with well-known threats to financial resilience, but they rarely mention the consequences of delays and inaction in dealing with the problems of banks. Ludger Schuknecht and Levin Holle warn this might entail systemic problems.


Ludger Schuknecht, Chief Economist

Ludger Schuknecht is the chief economist at the German Finance Ministry. He heads the Ministry’s directorate-general for economic and fiscal policy strategy, international economy and finance.


  1. 7 December 2017

    Benefits of international cooperation

    The outcomes of Germany’s G20 presidency in the finance track demonstrate the benefits of international cooperation in challenging times, writes chief economist Ludger Schuknecht. With a central focus on the resilience of the G20 economies, digitalisation in the financial sector and the Compact with Africa, Germany's G20 presidency made vital contributions towards the improvement of global economic and financial governance.

  2. 23 November 2017

    No safety with “European Safe Bonds”

    In a joint contribution for the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung MoF’s chief economist Ludger Schuknecht and his colleague Levin Holle, Director General for Financial market policy, share their opinion on the concept of European Safe Bonds (ESBies) and explain why they are not convinced that ESBies are the right instrument to foster stability and safety in European financial and debt markets.

  3. 9 October 2017

    Exit from the extraordinary

    Which way is the right one going forward when it comes to macroeconomic policy? While some consider continuation of monetary stimulus to be the right solution, others would rather advise not to take the risks inherent to it any longer. Prior to the IMF’s annual meetings in Washington, D.C. this week MoF chief economist Ludger Schuknecht elaborates on the issue in the latest edition of the letter from the chief economist.

  4. 19 July 2017

    More debt is the last thing Europe needs

    As economies perk up, governments should be balancing their budgets, not abandoning discipline, MoF’s Chief Economist Ludger Schuknecht states in his latest contribution for the Wallstreet Journal that was published on 18th July 2017.

  5. 27 June 2017

    Has the world been fitted with a debt straightjacket?

    The debt overhang is a severe risk for future growth and could become the breeding ground for new crises, says Germany’s 20 Finance Deputy and Chief Economist Ludger Schuknecht.

  6. 23 June 2017

    Highly problematic

    MoF’s chief economist Ludger Schuknecht and his colleague Thomas Westphal, Director General for European policy, explained in a joint contribution for the German and French daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and Le Monde why, in their opinion, the European Commission’s plans for more state-led stimulus are not going to help the euro zone.

  7. 12 June 2017

    German companies to be at the forefront of investment developments in Africa

    For decades, Africa was considered something of a black hole: Its politics seemed to be failing, it was stricken with poverty, its domestic markets were small, and success appeared to be scarce on all fronts. Africa was not a priority and so, when industry and the political sphere made efforts to engage with the continent, those efforts were usually rather half-hearted.

  8. 9 June 2017

    The case for rejuvenating the G20

    In an article that was first published in the International Economy Magazine in Winter 2017 chief economist Ludger Schuknecht shares his views on the G20, why it is in his opinion the only forum that can achieve something close to global economic governance and outlines the priorities of Germany’s G20 presidency in the finance track.

  9. 5 April 2017

    New Rules to Make Globalization Work

    In an article that was first published in the Wall Street Journal online on 4 April 2017 finance ministry chief economist Ludger Schuknecht argues for the significance of rules-based policy making and touches upon the inherent challenges while pointing out that protectionism is not the answer to them.

  10. 24 February 2017

    Don’t slam Germany’s trade surplus

    Ludger Schuknecht, chief economist at the German Finance Ministry comments on the European Commission criticising Germany for its record trade surplus. He argues that the only way to create jobs and fuel growth is to focus on boosting economic dynamism and points to the real challenges of this process. The article was first published online by on 22 February 2017.

  11. 10 January 2017

    Fiscal normality must be the focus

    Ludger Schuknecht, chief economist at the German Finance Ministry shares his views on the need to return to more fiscal normality and explains why the risks of blind fiscal expansion to generate growth are too great. He is convinced that the priority should fall on fiscal consolidation and outlines what should and shouldn’t be done. The article was published on 3 January 2017 in The Banker.

  12. 19 December 2016

    German G20 Presidency 2017: The Finance Track’s Focus on Economic Resilience

    Ludger Schuknecht, chief economist of the German Finance Ministry, explains why the resilience of G20 economies must be at the core of the G20 finance agenda.

  13. 7 October 2016

    Governments Must Resist the Windfall Temptation

    Ludger Schuknecht, chief economist at the German Finance Ministry, explains why a fiscal stimulus now would risk the modest gains of recent reforms. A commentary published in the Wall Street Journal on 5 October 2016.

  14. 21 July 2016

    Resist the siren song of “cheap” government spending

    If there’s one thing economists can agree upon, it’s the need for strong investment. In public works, machinery, education and research, investment is the basis for sustainable growth. The question of how to strengthen investment will therefore be central to the G20 finance ministers when they meet beginning Saturday in Chengdu, China, writes Ludger Schuknecht in the Wall Street Journal on 21 July 2016.

  15. 16 June 2016

    Public finances at a crossroads

    Ludger Schuknecht notes that most Western governments have stopped pursuing policies of budget consolidation for the time being. He rejects calls made by many for debt-fueled growth and sets out the reasons why sound public finances are crucial.

  16. 10 April 2016

    The world doesn’t need more stimulus

    Global growth rates are adjusting for China’s inevitable slowdown. But where is the demand gap some observers decry, asks Ludger Schuknecht.

  17. 8 February 2016

    An insurance scheme that only ensure problems

    Looking at a European deposit insurance scheme, Ludger Schuknecht says that serious disadvantages outweigh the advantages and argues that a far better solution would be to have reforms that create better incentives and reduce risks.

  18. 13 November 2015

    The G20: A driving force for global governance

    With some observers saying the influence of the G20 is even on the wane, Ludger Schuknecht sees that on the contrary, the G20 is the political engine that advances discussions, builds bridges and facilitates agreements and has a particularly important role to play right at this moment.

  19. 6 October 2015

    What bankers can teach stimulus-addicted economists

    Work of repairing public sector balance sheets has ground to a halt almost everywhere, writes Ludger Schuknecht. What governments save, because debt service costs are low, they often spend. The myopia in macroeconomic policy contrasts with much more convincing global action to repair the banking sector. Here, rebuilding resilience has been the motive for regulatory reforms and capital accumulation in recent years. Such an approach is also needed for public finances.

  20. 23 July 2015

    Why Piketty is wrong

    In the public debate over the right way forward for Greece, we have often seen balance and moderation fall by the wayside, writes Ludger Schuknecht. Even leading economists at times appear to forget what constitutes the foundations of European growth and prosperity. Both the EU and the monetary union are a community of values that stands for stability, solidarity, and working together on an equal footing.

  21. 20 April 2015

    Plenty of room for cost saving

    Germany’s pension and health care systems need to be future-proofed, argues Ludger Schuknecht. Today, old-age poverty is at historic lows, and people of all ages enjoy better health care than ever before. Nevertheless, our strong economy and flourishing labour market obscure the fact that we are sitting on a demographic, economic and fiscal time bomb.

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